Synther is an FPP simulation game with adventure-like, detective elements set in a futuristic, open world. The game has innovative, Commodore 64-like graphics, remindful of early 3D games and DOS applications.

The game is set in a city located on a remote island and the year is 2050. The players gets a chance to step in the shoes of Agent from Steiger Corporation, explore vast areas, crime scenes and gather intel, that reveals even more mysteries surrounding the city and its inhabitants. The police, paramilitary groups, gangs, fractions, large corporations - they can all stand in Your way, or can be helpful during, what can be the most demanding assignment of Your Agent career.

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Since we are big fans of old game consoles and computers, with Synther we went with the oldschool amiga-c64-early PC look. This decision, in mix with our game mechanics, required us to brainstorm about how to solve a couple of rendering problems, for instance: “How, for the love of all the indie devs in the world, are we going to correctly display everything?”. Below is our current approach, using a total of 5 cameras, 3 with downsampling, 2 with dithering and posterization.


Current rendering system in action.

We’ve reached this effect by going through lots of problems during the development. For contrast, that’s how Synther looked like when it was really early in development:


True old-school vibe.

The Setup

To better understand what is happening we’ll look on the system behind the scenes.

1. World camera
Responsible for rendering the whole world, and it does just that. It works in deffered shading mode to allow the usage of big amounts of lights on the scene. If you want to know more about what deffered shading is, you can look it up at En.wikipedia.org.


Final work of the world camera.

2. World UI camera
Busy with world UI's such as computers, vehicle controls and hacking. Anything it sees must be between player and the world, and it must avoid being scaled by the next camera effect, as downscaled UI would be unreadable. To achieve that, it renders before, but applies what it sees after camera no.3

3. Player FPS camera
Place where the magic happens. After a simple render of the player viewmodel, player FPS camera executes three effects on the image, in the following order:

  1. Downsampling
  2. Posterization
  3. Dithering

Downsampling scales the render down, so there are less pixels to process and the game looks more low-res. Posterization cuts the colors to a lower number. For now we are using 18-per-channel colors (18-p-c) posterization, what means that for each of three color channels, RG and B, we’re using 18 colors. Every possible combination gives us a total of 18*18*18 = 5832 colors. That’s nearly a 13 bit color mode, where
Dithering is the main culprit for those cool looking shadows. It mixes the colors giving an illusion of having more than there currently are. It was heavily used in the past just for getting better results for then-available limited hardware and their supported color palettes.


What player FPS camera sees.


What is on the screen so far, before applying the triple old-school effect.


Final work of the player FPS camera.

4. Player UI camera
Used for the player personal computer UI display, as well as other screen-space UI elements that should be displayed right on the screen, where camera no. 2 was responsible for displaying UI in the world in 3D space.


Final work of the player UI camera.

5. Effect camera
Final camera for displaying post processing effects. It takes the work of other cameras up to this point, and modifies the result.


A sad fate of one of our agents, who felt to his death.

Computer SGA translation All the text in the game world is shown in the SGA, which stands for Standard Galactic Alphabet. To make it understandable by the player, who doesn’t necessarily know SGA, our personal computer can translate it for us into English.


Same SGA advert behind the computer screen.

Translation happens automatically when the computer screen is pointed at any SGA material, either text only, or mixed with additional logos. SGA material’s shader renders ENG translation only, if the pixel would happen to be between one of 4 corners of the computer screen.


Visualization of the computer AD translation process.

Our previous approach depended on using the separate layer and a depth texture, but it gave us two problems along the way. First it was problematic, when we decided to ditch forward rendering pipeline in favor of deferred for light optimizations, Second it required juggling with the depth data of the camera, having to render it twice.


Early personal computer SGA translation rendering through the walls.

That’s it, for now as you can see we are making sure that the game visuals will be appealing not only for the most hardcore fans. If you liked what you see, then get ready, as Synther is getting close to the release date.


Bonus: Example of the render using downsampled 6-p-c colors, and 60% dither pass effect.

Synther will be available Q4 2018 on Steam: Store.steampowered.com be sure to add it to your wishlist!

- Griz, Developer

Good News Everyone!

Good News Everyone!

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It was a long 4 year process working on this game part time, but not anymore.

Short story about player new gun

Short story about player new gun

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This ‪#‎screenshotsaturday‬ will be a little different, because showing progress images all the time can be little boring and we want to show you...

Immersive Gameplay part 2

Immersive Gameplay part 2

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first time i showing simple model without any details of first part of neoparis.

Immersive Gameplay part 1

Immersive Gameplay part 1

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First part from series of articles about thing that immersive the gameplay.

Comments  (0 - 10 of 12)
Guest
Guest

Wow! It's been two years since I last looked at this and honestly I really like the direction it has taken! I hope this gets made into a fully fledged game with an in depth story cause that would be freaking amazing!!!

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Neofuturism Creator
Neofuturism

feel free and check fb and twitter page of this game :D
Facebook.com

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Jerikøh
Jerikøh

I love everything
super tracking

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Neofuturism Creator
Neofuturism

nice! you can also follow our project on facebook or itch or gamejolt :)

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LoudCore
LoudCore

I like this a lot.

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Mad_King_Corduroy
Mad_King_Corduroy

Dude! Keep working on this, I want to see this finished! :D
This is basically Blade Runner made into a video game! So cool!

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Neofuturism Creator
Neofuturism

Basically it be a mix of Blade Runner/Deus Ex and retrofuture things. It be more brutal and hardcore. Graphic be simple, more solid colors than textures. Gamer will be forced to using typical detective action. No tips (some one like avgn can say this game will be style "where do i f* go" but in real world you dont have any arrows where go and interactive map where everything says what you must to do to get something), you must know where to go to get some information, and its your will how do you want it. Talking or making holes in heads. Mechanic for world is very difficult.

much of things is inspired by Syd Mead

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Mad_King_Corduroy
Mad_King_Corduroy

I like that idea alot! I have found many games not challenging enough in recent years. I am a huge fan of syd mead (I often draw inspiration from his designs when designing things myself) and I would love a game that lets you actually do some detective work in a open immersive cyber punk world. Make this and I will definitely buy it. :D

But make it a long game, most games are much too short these days. I want something I can play for a while. :D

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xivel
xivel

I love the art direction of this game, how does it not have more people following it?

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Neofuturism Creator
Neofuturism

Remember, always you can do something to change that :D

Reply Good karma+1 vote
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Synther
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Creator
Neofuturism
Engine
Unity
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Latest tweets from @synthergame

This is your microcomputer - you dont need any HUD. #screenshotsaturday #indiegame #gamedevelopment #gamdevT.co

Aug 11 2018

Wanna know how our graphic works? you can read it here! Indiedb.com #IndieGameDev #indiedevT.co

Aug 10 2018

During the last months we’ve been focused on the game world and the player entity. However, now is the time to stop… T.co

Aug 4 2018

#pkp #ponizejdna #poland #polskiekoleje #szczecin #wakacje, sobota, 27stopni. PKP podstawili najkrótszy szynobus na… T.co

Jul 28 2018

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